Thomas de Keyser (?Amsterdam 1596/7-1667)
Thomas de Keyser (?Amsterdam 1596/7-1667)

Portrait of a family, probably in the guise of the Family of Tobias, full-length, in a landscape

Thomas de Keyser (?Amsterdam 1596/7-1667)
Portrait of a family, probably in the guise of the Family of Tobias, full-length, in a landscape
signed with the artist's monogram and indistinctly dated 'TDK ****' (lower right)
oil on panel
19 3/8 x 30¼ in. (49.2 x 76.8 cm.)
Dir. Roos, Brussels.
Haasmann, The Hague.
with Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam, by 1917 (inv. No. 2024);
Confiscated by the Nazi authorities, July 13, 1940;
Transferred to the Sonderauftrag Linz, by 1941 (Linz no. 1209);
Recovered by the Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Section from the Alt Ausee salt mines (Alt Aussee no. 5302),
and transferred to the Munich Central Collecting Point on October 18, 1945 (MCCP no. 10086);
Repatriated to the Stichting Nederlands Kunst Bezit, The Hague, November 20, 1945 (NK1494);
Restituted to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker, February 2006;
Christie's, New York, 19 April 2007, lot 30, acquired after the sale by the Hascoe family.
W. Martin, "De portretkunst in de Hollandsche samenleeving der 17e eeuw in Oudheidkundig jaarboek", Bulletin van de Nederlandischen Oudheidkundigen Bond, III, 1923, pp. 75-77, no. 14, as 'Lot and his Daughters'.
W. Martin, Frans Hals en zijn tijd. Onze 17eeuwsche schilderkunst in het algemeen, in hare opkomst en rondom Frans Hals, Amsterdam, 1935, pp. 40-41, no. 21.
F.A. van Bram, H. Klinkenberg, Art treasures in the Benelux Countries I: the Netherlands, Deventer, 1958, p. 248, no. 2862, as 'The Promised Land'.
I. Brouwer, Portretgroup in oud-testamentarisch dracht in Medelingen can het Central Museum Utrecht, XVIII, 1977, p. 14.
A.J. Adams, The Paintings of Thomas de Keyser (1596/7-1667): A study of portraiture in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, Cambridge, 1985, I-II, pp. 407-409; III-IV, no. 47.
R. Schillemans, Bijbelschilderkunst rond Rembrandt, Utrecht, 1989, pp. 62-66.
Old Master Paintings: An illustrated summary catalogue, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst (The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts), The Hague, 1992, p. 160, no. 1319.
J.E.A. Dijkstra, De schilderen can Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, 2002, p. 213.
B. Schwartz, Hitler's Museum: Die Fotoalben Gemäldegalerie Linz, Dokumente zum 'Führermuseum', Vienna, 2004, pp. 107, 225, III/19a.
The Hague, Pulchri Studio, Collectie Goudstikker, October 1917, no. 27.
Amsterdam, La Société de Peinture Pulchri Studio, The Hague, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, 3 November-2 December 1923, no. 52.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Tentoonstelling Bijbelsche Kunst, 8 July-8 October 1939, no. 11b (as 'Lot and his Daughters').
Vancouver, Art Gallery, The Dutch World of Painting, 6 April-29 June 1986, no. 20.
Braunschweig, Herzog-Anton-Ülrich Museum, Bilder vom alten Menschen in der niederländischen Kunst und deutschen Kunst 1550-1750, 1993, no. 19.
Utrecht, Museum Catharijneconvent, on loan.

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Lot Essay

According to the apocryphal story of his father Tobit, Tobias left home in search of a man who owed his dying father money. His hired companion, the Archangel Gabriel in disguise, leads Tobias to marry the pious Sara, who had previously suffered the loss of seven husbands to an evil curse. Following divine instruction, Gabriel also leads Tobias to recover the money stolen from his family, as well as to a cure for his father's blindness, both rewards for Tobit's piety. Tobias' parents, who had feared their son dead, are elated on his return, and overjoyed when he presents them both with the healing ointment he has discovered and the inheritance he has retrieved. When they attempt to share the riches with their son's mysterious companion, the Archangel reveals himself, and the family members fall to their knees in prayer.
This exceptional group portrait shows the moment just after this revelation, as Tobit, newly gifted with sight, his arms outspread in welcome, looks expectantly towards the arrival of his new daughter-in-law Sara. The central figure--whose wings identify him as the Archangel Gabriel--looks out boldly to meet the viewer's gaze, and may well have been responsible for the painting's commission, perhaps due to some connection his or his wife's name had to the story of Tobit. The work could also have been a highly unconventional marriage portrait. In either case, it belongs to the group of innovative, small-scale group portraits De Keyser painted in the early 1630s.

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